Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Over the Rainbow

One of the points raised during Tuesday evening's panel by the very eloquent conservative Grover Norquist was that, if the left wants to capture the hearts and minds of "just folks" the way the right has, we need to work harder on getting out our message of a brighter future. I think we all want to hear that "it's going to be okay," perhaps now more than ever. Yes, essays like this one by William Rivers Pitt (via Cyndy and Lisa English) are absolutely vital for the public record, the history books, the memory hole, etc. but, however truthful such "doom and gloom" pronouncements are, it's a bitch to get ordinary-just-trying-to-survive citizens to rally around them. I'm not suggesting blinders, and I'm not suggesting self-censorship. But I think more progressives need to pay attention not just to what they say but how they say it, and how the "other side" couches things. There's no reason conservatives should have a monopoly on words like "peace" and "freedom" and "liberation" and phrases like "bright tomorrow" and "family values" - particularly as they often practice the exact opposite of what they preach. Even (especially?) in the midst of this trial of the soul through which our leaders are currently putting good, kind, honest citizens, I believe that we wouldn't be progressive if we didn't truly believe an essentially positive and better future is achievable. Let's not just work towards it, but talk it up, and make it so.

Maintenance note: Stand Down! and Where Is Raed? (blog of Iraqi-based Salam Pax) have been moved up in the blogroll on the sidebar, as I believe we probably all want to vigilantly check in with both on a daily basis now. Also of note, reporting from Iraq are pro journalists Christopher Albritton and Kevin Sites (scroll down blogroll, they're listed along with other pros Eric, Joshua and Neal).